US & Canada

Most Canadian children 'not exercising' enough

Children running
Image caption Exercise is losing out to sedentary activities, such as TV watching, according to the study

Canadian children are missing-out on vital exercise and spend most of their time sitting down, according to new research.

The study, by Statistics Canada, used tiny accelerometers, similar to those found in smartphones, to record the activity of 1,600 young people.

Fewer than one in 10 achieved the minimum recommended level of exercise.

More than half of their day involved sedentary behaviour, such as watching TV.

Canada's "fitness tsar", Kelly Murumets, said: "It is urgent that all Canadians take action so that we can reverse this dangerous, societal trend.

"We need to inspire and support our children by being good role models and leading active, healthy lifestyles."

Girls v boys

Girls fared worse than boys in the two-year study, carried out between 2007 and 2009.

Among five- to 17-year-olds, 4% of girls managed to get an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day, compared with 9% of boys.

The amount of time young people spent sitting down appeared to increase with age, according to the research.

For children under 15 years of age, the figure was 8.6 hours per day, rising to nine hours for older teenagers.

The findings will be used to inform new physical activity guidelines being drawn up for the Canadian government's health department.

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